IQ Series Digital Back Tethering – USB3 vs Firewire

 In Leaf, Phase One, Tech, Tech

New computers have undoubtably made the transition away from what was the previous standard for fast peripheral device communication, Firewire.

IQ series digital backs can communicate using Firewire or USB, but there are workflow considerations to be aware of when making the decision of which tether cable to use.
If you’re looking to order or upgrade cables, hubs or boosters, please check out the previous blog post “Tethering – The Weakest Links”

TetherTools USB 3.0 Active Extension
CI FW800 Powered Hub
CI Certified USB 3.0
TetherTools TetherBoost Core Controller

What has been generally under-communicated is just how different the display and control of the IQ back and attached camera are between the cable types, especially in regards to the XF and DF+ camera bodies, with USB giving the photographer robust real-time data and full control of the semi-permanent customization of the camera bodies through the very readable Capture One interface.  (Pictured Below)

Phase One XF Camera and IQ info in Capture One 9.1.1 through Firewire Tether:

XF Camera and IQ info in Capture One 9.1.1 through USB3 Tether:

DF+ Camera and IQ info in Capture One 9.1.1 through USB3 Tether:

Firewire Pros:
•’Slow’ battery charging of digital back through native firewire port on silver tower Mac Pro and some MacBook Pros
•’Slow’ battery charging of digital back through a firewire powered hub connected through Thunderbolt to Firewire Adapter on new Mac models

Firewire Cons:
•Firewire connection to digital back uncomfortably right below your chin when looking through viewfinder
•Slow (5-10 second) initial tethering connection to Capture One
•Limited camera information conveyed through link to Capture One

USB3 Pros:
•Near immediate connection to Capture One
•Tether connects to side of IQ back, away from face if looking through viewfinder
•Robust access to Camera Body and IQ Settings current and customizable settings

USB3 Cons:
•No charging ability through the USB port unless being used with a BC1.2 hub, and then only a little.
•Tethering on 15′ cable often requires an additional line booster

(The only recommended Fast Charge solution available with a tethered IQ back is the combination of a USB3 tether and the  Phase One FireWire 800 DC Plug Kit providing the power)

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